So HMRC are withdrawing the ‘denial’ route currently one of the three options available to tax payers using HMRC’s CDF (Contractual Disclosure Facility) in response to investigation under Code of Practice 9 (COP9).
Well I’ve had cases that are clearly not fraud. Yet the Revenue has sent the Code of Practice 9 and CDF letter to the client asking them to admit fraud if they want to go ahead or of course use the denial route, which is as published no longer available from the 1st July 2014.
My clients have usually taken my advice that is to allow me to write to HMRC advising them my client has no need of the COP9 or CDF and if HMRC wish to take the matter further then I am available to deal with the matter by correspondence. Where there has been a request for a meeting with the client, I have respectively declined it saying I am authorised to deal with any queries on my clients behalf.
Do I think it will make HMRC’s task more difficult? Yes I do. Unfortunately, HMRC are using a lot of inexperienced staff to try and process the Code of Practice 9 CDF procedures and other procedures such as the letter where tax payers are invited to attend the local police station on the flimsiest of evidence.
I think for HMRC to be successful in their investigation and after all that’s what they try to do and recover money interest and penalties, they must have some cooperation from the party under investigation and the party under investigation would take the wisest choice possible in getting a suitably experienced practitioner in tax investigations to guide him through the various problems that one meets during the investigations.
Now that looks to be the best way for all parties – HMRC and the client under investigation and of course the practitioner in the investigations.
If HMRC are taking away the right to say yes I might have made a mistake but I don’t think its fraud -especially where chartered accountants, solicitors, lawyers, bankers – people who really do need to be quite clear and clean as far their professions and in fact their whole livings are concerned.
We actually fought for three years for a firm of chartered accountants over some stupid allegation, which later turned out to be absolute nonsense but the client was under such pressure that she could not agree anything because of her practising certificate and insurance of course – we won the day but that’s another story – these are the things which make it very difficult for these matter to be very straightforward. That might be a very strange comment – being straightforward – when talking about people under investigation for tax fraud, fiddling etc but I do think HMRC do tend to make a rod for their own backs in sometimes trying to get these so called CDF’s and disclosures more complicated than they need to be.
You’ve only got to look and see the article in Private Eye regarding the alleged claims made by HMRC as to their success rate – which of course turns out to be absolute nonsense.
I have included a copy of the article from Private Eye following this comment but HMRC are actually trying to win over the public with stories of how successful they are when it’s actually a load of nonsense.